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Many multi-national and medium-sized companies have been struggling with the development of meaningful performance metrics for their environmental, health and safety programs. TRI data; non-compliance notices, fines and penalties; occupational injury and illness statistics; ODS use; global warming emissions; environmental incidents, spills, etc., work well enough for year-end measures for large, U.S. chemical companies. However, for many companies these traditional metrics don't tell much and aren't measured frequently enough to have an effect on EHS performance.

The author led the effort to develop and implement monthly EHS performance metrics in a medium-sized multi-national electronics firm. Early metrics were modeled after the firm's monthly operations metrics, and were developed as a one-page snapshot to give management a view of trends and possible trouble spots. The metrics proved successful: What got measured got attention.

Over time, the original metrics became almost trite, with several no longer measuring areas that needed attention. When this occurred, the site EHS managers were consulted and the performance measures were updated. Annual targets, standards of excellence, and year-to-date measures were provided along with the monthly results. Measurements were “normalized” to allow comparison of smaller to larger plants and to not be biased by changes in production rates. Some parameters were dropped, others were refined; new metrics were added where new priorities needed management attention. This reflected the company's changing EHS focus. The evolution was from compliance to best management practices to continuous improvement - as driven by ISO 14001.

This paper presents the parameters chosen for measurement of EHS performance and the process by which they were selected. All measurements apply equally to domestic and foreign sites.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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